Where's beef? At chicken place!
It’s easy to tell which social groups are cool and which are out of favor just by measuring the hysteria level when big-city politicians start posturing. Consider the lesson of the great Chick-fil-A pile-on of recent days: gay-marriage advocates, good; gay-marriage critics, evil – unless they’re also members of another preferred group.
It’s been known for ages that Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy is a strong believer in the traditional family, but hardly anybody has paid attention to the fact. Then within the last week, it was decided that the views of a restaurant owner are an imminent danger to the community.
We do not care to have such a restaurant because it does not share Chicago values, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said while putting out the welcome mat for Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan, both anti-gay and virulently anti-Semitic.
'Do no harm' with the surplus
“Just say no.” Some critics thought that was a naive drug-fighting stance by first lady Nancy Reagan; there’s more to resisting temptation than simple willpower. Some also think it’s pretty naive economic advice from outgoing General Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jeff Espich. After all, there are years of pent-up demand because of budget cuts.
“It’s harder for the legislature to say no when there is revenue available, certainly more than it is when you’re in the negative,” says John Katzenberger of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute. He also has some good advice. Lawmakers and the new governor should take a deep breath before making any decisions about how to spend the state’s excess money, either on tax cuts or on more services like education. Heed the Hippocratic oath, he said, and “first, do no harm.”
Obamacare will hurt us
Oh, how bad can a 2.3 percent excise tax be, really?
Unfortunately, we will get to find that out in Indiana if Obamacare is not killed by Congress. The tax, which is imposed by Obamacare on medical devices, is estimated to bring in $29 billion over the next 10 years.
The medical-device industry is big and getting bigger – the field now employs more than 400,000 Americans. And many of those Americans are in Indiana.
In an otherwise dismal economic climate in the past few years, the industry has thrived here, creating an estimated economic impact of more than $10 billion a year. All told, more than 20,000 Hoosiers are employed in the field, with nearly 6,800 in nearby Warsaw alone.
And all that is threatened by the new Obamacare tax.
Study the fundamentals
We’ve said this often, but it can’t be repeated too many times: Instead of continuing the same old tax-and-spending debates, Indiana officials need to examine the fundamental assumptions of government to determine if they want to keep offering the same services in the same manner. The latest opportunity for that investigation comes with Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence’s call for a 10 percent cut of Indiana’s individual income tax rate.
And local governments, it should be obvious, need to make the same examination. The Fort Wayne City Council just received a task force report suggesting that the city will likely have a yearly deficit of between $3 and $6 million from 2013 on and also faces a more than $60 million backlog of street repairs. With every problem there is imbedded an opportunity, right?
The tea party not dead yet
Those pesky tea party members have a disconcerting habit of scoring great victories immediately after establishment politicians or the mainstream media declare the movement dead. Conservatives in Indiana fondly relish that resilience since the result here was the primary victory of state Treasurer Richard Mourdock over “moderate Republican” U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar.
Now it turns out the Mourdock victory was a model for tea party efforts elsewhere. Tea party Senate candidates are surging from Wisconsin to Nebraska, Missouri to Texas. Ted Cruz’s come-from-behind trouncing of longtime Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Texas GOP primary was the greatest victory yet.
The success of the tea party has some folks downright worried. Goodness, if all those conservatives kick out the moderates, the Senate will get downright partisan!